Welcome to our Ag Blog. Our field scouts will offer a unique ground-level perspective from the field to you as an independent field scout with the San Joaquin Sustainable Farming Project. Our mission is to promote sustainable farming systems throughout the Central Valley and provide you with the latest information about cotton, almond and alfalfa crops. From time to time, you'll also find guest posts from our project team and other contributors. This Blog is edited by Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Economic $urvival: H2O Goes from One Crop to Another
It’s the farmer’s version of “Paying Peter to Pay
this case, the currency is California’s equivalent to liquid gold – aka H2O,
agua, aqua or water. This practice could increase as we get deeper into the
growing season, according to field scout Carlos Silva.
Carlos says one veteran grower already has turned
off the water tap to one of his three alfalfa fields just a couple months into
the season, which normally runs through the early fall. But the grower is
settling for just three cuttings in this field so he can use that water
allotment for more profitable crops. The choice is a matter of economical
survival during an unprecedented drought
far, other growers appear to be moving forward and irrigating their alfalfa as
they prepare for their next harvest in the coming weeks. You might recall many
growers last year indicated the alfalfa season could end by June due to lack of
water. But they wound up securing enough water to make it through the fall.
They might not be lucky this season because of a fourth straight dry year.
It may be a water balancing act for alfalfa growers.
In the meantime, Carlos says pests have been under
control in alfalfa. Aphids and weevils counts are relatively low. But the
recent cool weather could lead to an increase in aphid counts.
orchards also aren’t experiencing any significant pest threats. The same is
true for cotton, Carlos points out. While he’s finding some mites in cotton,
there have been enough thrips around to keep the mites in check.
Cotton seedlings have grown to about 4 inches tall.
While the dry winter and spring has pushed almond
development about a month ahead of schedule this year, the cotton crop is
following a rather normal growth pattern. That’s probably due to the mixture of
hot and cool weather since cotton was planted last month. The seedlings are
about four inches tall and averaging around four nodes.